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Joel Colindres with his wife Samantha and their two children. Image originally published by CNN, provided by the Colindres family.
Joel Colindres with his wife Samantha and their two children. Image originally published by CNN, provided by the Colindres family.

Another "good hombre" faces deportation

This undocumented immigrant, without a criminal record, must fly on August 17 back to Guatemala, even though his sons and his wife are American citizens.

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(This story was originally published by CNN)

The fateful promise of President Trump to remove all the "bad hombres" of the country will destroy another family.

Joel Colindres, 33, fled his native country in 2004, escaping drug trafficking and the murder of one of his relatives. When crossing the border in Texas, he and his fellow travelers were arrested. After surrendering voluntarily, he was granted a temporary waiver.

Colindres began a life from scratch in the United States, married an American citizen and has two children who enjoy the same status. But he reportedly missed a check-up appointment in a Texas court, and a federal court issued a removal order on his behalf the same year he entered the country.

According to Colindres, the immigration officials did not have the correct data, and both his address and his name were poorly recorded, so he never heard of the court date.

Colindres and his lawyers have spent more than ten years attempting to legalize his status, but according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Shawn Neudauer, he "has sought relief from removal via several court actions and has been denied each."

When the Colindres family attended a routine checkup with ICE in their hometown of Connecticut on July 20, the deportation decision was irreversible. "ICE chose not to take (Joel Colindres) into custody and instead placed him in a GPS monitoring program," Neudauer said. "He was instructed to report back to ICE with an itinerary as proof he intends to comply with his removal order."

Despite being the head of an American family, paying their taxes, owning their home, having worked for more than 12 years in the same company and not possessing a criminal record, this citizen must be separated from his family and return to a country that no longer recognizes as his own.

"I'm not a criminal. The only thing I did wrong was to miss a court date, "he said. "I did not know, I was only 20 years old. I just made a mistake. Sorry. I think that's all I can say. "

According to his lawyer, Larry Delgado, the Colindres case is irrefutable proof of the changes in deportation objectives. "This is one of the most compelling cases we have ever seen in terms of the positives versus negatives" said the lawyer, hoping that a case like this should be resolved smoothly.

But the new administration, and the many cases that have come under similar conditions without getting the option to stay in the country, show that the scenario for immigrants is now completely different.

According to Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, there are many cases like Colindres, where "These individuals relied on the good word and promise of the American government. They were permitted to stay here, they reported periodically, they made no effort to hide, they violated no laws, they raised children here, US citizens, and contributed and worked hard,"

But the new law does not distinguish between "good" and "bad". For this new government, any excuse is enough to expel citizens stigmatized as "criminals."

But Joel's wife, Samantha, has decided not to give in to the fight. Currently their case has a web page and they have decided to turn to social networks to make public their situation, hoping to get an opportunity before August 17.

To support the Colindres family visit: https://www.facebook.com/savejoelcolindres

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